January 28, 2002 Vol. VI, No. 9

NCOD Director Named to Independent Living Council

Merri Pearson to Serve Three-Year Term on Panel that Oversees the State's Independent Living Plan

Merri Pearson, director of the National Center on Deafness at Cal State Northridge, has been appointed to the Statewide Independent Living Council by California Gov. Gray Davis. It is a three-year appointment.

The Statewide Independent Living Council is a decision-making body and advisory board responsible for overseeing the state's Independent Living Plan and ensuring California receives federal funding for the implementation of the plan. The council also is responsible for communicating and providing leadership to the more than 60 independent living centers across the state.

The centers are responsible for providing services to promote the independent living paradigm. This includes consumer control and the right to environmental access of individuals with disabilities to ensure that they can fully participate in society.

"I am thrilled to be able to provide support to the independent living movement through my appointment to the state council," Pearson said. "I am also happy to provide the unique perspective of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to the council and the governor's office."

Pearson was named director of the National Center on Deafness (NCOD) at Cal State Northridge in 1999. Before that, she served as a program director with the U.S. Department of Education. She is a member of the National Association of the Deaf and the California Association of Postsecondary Education and Disabilities. She has a doctorate of education from George Washington University.

The National Center on Deafness' nationally recognized support system of note-takers, tutors and interpreters allows the 250 deaf and hard-of-hearing students at Cal State Northridge to fully participate in university life.

The university's population of deaf and hard-of-hearing students is one of the largest of any mainstream university in the United States. Northridge was among the first universities to offer services to mainstream these students beginning in the 1960s. NCOD as an entity was founded in 1972.

@csun | January 28, 2002 issue
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